The Balance
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The Balance

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"Striking a Chord"

by Jeremy Buckley

When the Saddle Creek Bar closed its doors in the late 1990s it marked the end of an era for a music scene in Nebraska. Every Thursday brought jam-band fans the chance to check out local favorite Strange Pleasures rock out a mix of originals and Grateful Dead covers while drinking penny pitchers.

But when the venue called it a day, there was no bona fide replacement in wait for the hippies and noodlers to find their music. Strange Pleasures began to play less and less and the scene just kind of burnt out.

Fast forward to July of 2003, take a step to the west down to the capital city of Lincoln and a bar called Bodega’s Alley. The bar had been regularly hosting an open-mike night on Mondays and local bands could hone their craft in front of a live audience that wasn’t expecting a reincarnation of the Beatles.

A threesome of friends from Scottsbluff (Nate Green, Jake Van Noy and Brett Lofing) and a buddy from Lyons (Sam Larson) decided to see if they had what it took to perform in front of a crowd. Today that foursome is known as the Balance. Within just a few performances the band began to garner a following and started playing as a billed band on Wednesdays.

Since then, the band has done all it can to revive any semblance of an improv music movement in the state of Nebraska.

On Dec. 17 the band will play its first headlining show at the Sokol Underground, along with Omaha’s Polydypsia.

Larson, bassist for the Balance, said the last couple of months have been very busy for the band in terms of playing shows and expanding its audience outside of the Lincoln area. Aside from a couple of opening slots performing with the Big Wu, they’ve performed at Maggie McCall’s and traveled to Colorado in August for a short tour.

“It was a lot of fun, we’re going back for some more shows in January,” Larson said. “The first night we were lined up with two bands that sounded nothing like us, but we played last and the owner of the bar said they never stay open that late for live music, but the people stayed interested and drinking so that was good.

“The last night of the tour we had it set up where we played in a building that had been closed for a couple of months and a good 150 people showed up for the show which is amazing.”

Beyond it’s eclectic mix of songwriting that takes advantage of some faster-paced, guitar-based songs from Van Noy and a nice contrast of mellower keyboard based songs from Green, the band mixes in a nice medley of covers and boasts its own sound and lighting crew, uncommon on the local circuit.

“We met our sound guy Jeremy (Garrett) going into the studio in the winter of 2004,” Larson said. “He liked our type of music and we asked him if he could help us with sound on a trip down to Fort Worth, Texas.”

Ever since, Garrett has been as much of a fixture of the band as the member’s instruments.

“When they came into the studio it was on a Sunday and they were kind of strapped for availability,” Garrett said.

“I wasn’t really looking forward to it, seeing that it was a Sunday, but once they started playing I was immediately impressed. They would ask me if they could borrow stuff for sound and I said, ‘Why don’t you just have me run sound?’ I haven’t missed any of the last 34 gigs.”

Beyond merely trying to make the sound as great as possible at the shows, Garrett has taken the process a step further and has started to record all of the shows. Because the Balance allows for live tapings, its shows can now be found available for download at So even though the band has yet to release a studio album, fans can still listen to the sounds of the Balance in the comfort of their own homes.

“Live recordings have come a long way in the music industry, it’s not just some polished music CD, and fans can relate to having been there when the songs were played.”

For more information on the Balance log into - Omaha City Weekly

"The Balance provides relief from generic music"

by Joel Gehringer

Chances are good that anyone who frequents local music venues has come across one of those bands. Everyone knows them: They play four chords over and over again for three minutes, stop, then repeat 10 times until the patrons are either heading out the door or taking shots until the music sounds interesting.

Exposed to too much of this bland music, you might develop a condition known as generic banditis, in which you’ll continually seek out the most boring band currently playing Lincoln’s bars and clubs.

Fortunately for music fans, modern medicine has discovered a cure for generic banditis. It’s called The Balance, and it’ll be available at 9 p.m. Wednesday at Knickerbockers, 901 O St., no prescription required.

The Balance bassist Sam Larson said bands too often gravitate toward melodic mediocrity. “People kind of get pigeonholed into an area. That’s why, since we started off, we’ve been playing a variety of songs.”

To declare The Balance Lincoln’s next up-and-coming music phenomenon would be cliche, but in this case there’s probably no better way to say it.

After members Nate Green, Jacob Van Noy and Brett Lofing added Larson to their lineup in June 2003, the Scottsbluff band steadily gained a following with regular appearances at Bodega’s Alley.

The group has been described as a jam band, but that term might have worn out its usefulness. It’s been used to describe groups including Phish, Led Zeppelin and the Dave Matthews Band. Besides, Larson’s not sure if the label is entirely accurate.

“It just encompasses so much stuff,” he said. “Sure, we do that sort of thing (jam), but I think of (The Balance) more as a band that allows us to bring anything to the table.”

The four members of The Balance draw from a variety of styles when writing songs, including bluegrass, blues and dance.

“We don’t put up limits,” Larson said.

That no-limits approach has helped The Balance find listeners anywhere they play. When the group performed in Omaha recently, more than 200 people showed up.

“All the people that come and see us are great,” said Van Noy, the group’s guitarist. “Maybe you get 10 or 15 new people per show, but they’ll tell their friends for the next show.”

Van Noy said the band wants to use its versatility to get more out-of-state shows. They briefly toured Colorado in August, and in early 2006 they hope to return to Colorado as well as play in Kansas and Iowa.

After that, the Balance will head into the studio for a recording session members hope will get the attention of A&R representatives.

“I want to put together five or six well-done songs in the studio that we can show some people who have ties with record labels. We’d like to show our music to somebody higher up that can help us out. And, of course, we want something to give our fans, too.”

Hear that, sufferers of generic banditis? Help is on the way.

Reach Joel Gehringer at 473-7254 or - Lincoln Journal Star

"New Restaurant hooks customers with music"

by Nicci Boots

Stereotypes are made to be broken.

One of these is the idea that if music will be played at a Mexican food restaurant, it should have a salsa beat to it.

At Lorenzo's, 500 Sun Valley Blvd., a customer can see this stereotype being broken as soon as they walk through the door and notice the Phish and Miles Davis posters hung throughout the place.

Darrin Salazar, Lorenzo's co- owner, said music definitely is a key part of this establishment.

"I've said from the beginning that we would find a way to have music here," he said.

The beginning of Lorenzo's came in December 2003 -- Salazar had worked at a similar restaurant in Scottsbluff that was owned by a family member. In Lincoln, he wanted to open up the same kind of place.

"It's kind of a like a family chain of restaurants for us," Salazar said.

The location of Lorenzo's places it within walking distance of Haymarket Park, and Salazar said he hopes to attract the baseball crowd this spring.

"After the baseball games we want to have bands here for the fans to come check out," he said.

So far, The Balance, whose music blends rock, jazz and funk, has been the only headlining band for the restaurant. Salazar has known the members of the band since his days in Scottsbluff and said he's grateful they've been playing at Lorenzo's.

"When we got started, people didn't want to get out and spend their money at a restaurant when they had Christmas gifts to worry about," he said.

"We started to depend on The Balance to bring the people in -- they were pretty much our saviors."

Jake Van Noy, lead guitarist for the band, said the crowd at the restaurant has responded well to the music.

"The best thing about our music is the energy, and it's always rising at these shows," he said.

While there is no stage for the band to use, or a large area for the fans to jam, Van Noy said Lorenzo's still is a great place to play.

"At a place like Knickerbockers, we get a nice sound, but that's because they have tons of money to make that happen," he said.

"Here, we bring in our own gear, but since it's a small place, you don't really need that much equipment to get a good sound."

Van Noy and the four other band members, Nate Green, rhythm and lead singer; Sam Larson on bass; Justin Stiers on keyboards and percussion; and Brett Lofing on drums; are all students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

For this reason, Van Noy said it's sometimes hard for the band to balance school with music.

"It's definitely a struggle when it comes to studying," he said.

"Music keeps us happy, though."

At The Balance's show Saturday night, Lorenzo's continued to swell with people and the walls began to vibrate as the band cranked out a sound full of improvisation.

One member of the crowd, Jesse Hodges, said The Balance played music that seemed to fit the atmosphere of the restaurant.

"They sound a lot like Phish," he said. "Their music is a bit more jazzier and Pink Floyd-ish, though."

This fits well with Salazar, who always has been a big fan of Phish. This helps explain the future for Lorenzo's, as Salazar said he plans to bring in different bands for shows both inside the restaurant and in the beer garden during the summer.

"I want to have music become a regular thing here," he said.

"It's a big part of my life." - Daily Nebraskan

"Wham, Bam, Thank You Jam @ The Hurricane review"

To say that the local jam scene is thriving is an understatement. With the Wakarusa Festival and the numerous shows and events in the local area, Kansas City and Lawrence are beginning to get national attention. The Wham Bam Thank You Jam is the lovechild of the support and respect found within our community (as well as the blood, sweat, and tears of Mike and Brooke Harvey of Kansas City’s own Darkhorse Productions). The three day festival, held at the Hurricane, will feature the hottest local and regional jam acts all in one place. While every band will be a treat to see, here’s four bands you won’t want to miss…

Shanti Groove
Somewhere in the musical universe between the sounds of String Cheese Incident and the Yonder Mountain String Band there exists Boulder, Colorado’s Shanti Groove. Adding a drummer to the traditional bluegrass line-up enables Shanti Groove to transport listeners to the sonic paradise we call progressive bluegrass. Drummer Christian Carlson’s rythms give the band a canvas on which to create layered jams that chart new territory with every performance. For those who like songs quick and to the point, the longest of the band’s musical wanderings usually top out at around 10 minutes. You can be sure though that with an intimate setting and a headlining slot, Wham Bam will bring out the band’s improvisational side. Also with so many others there to collaborate with, the guest appearances should be quite frequent. []

Brother’s Green
If bluegrass isn’t your cup of tea, fear not; the weekend offers an eclectic mix of musical genres. Brothers Green is a funk/rock/jazz power quartet that calls KC home and they recently won a spot in the Wakarusa lineup by winning the Kansas City Battlerusa. With lead singer Sterling “Natural Mic” Brown leading the way, Brothers Green puts on a live show where the word “energy” isn’t just an element of the performance, but rather a matter of course. When I first downloaded a few of their tunes it was readily apparent that this group knows how to work the crowd, turning music into something more than just sound. They’re sure to make some noise at Wham Bam and no doubt will draw a few fans away from the other stages. If you’re a fan of complete awesomeness, you might find yourself among the crowd. []

The Balance
When the Balance plays The Uptown in 2009, you’ll be proud to say you saw them way back in 2006 at the Hurricane. Hailing from Lincoln, Nebraska, The Balance sounds like a mix of Phish (circa 1997) and Particle. This juxtaposition of sounds lends itself to both spacy grooves and in-your-face rocking. When I first heard this band, specifically the song “Phases,” I stopped everything else I was doing and started focusing only on the melodic electronica flowing through my headphones—it’s a sound you can really get lost in. []

Back Yard Tire Fire
Drawing comparisons to MOFRO and Drive-By Truckers, Backyard Tire Fire is a true-to-their-roots rock band from Athens, Georgia. Playing alt-country/southern-rock story songs about real life and the human experience, Backyard will have you grooving from the first notes on. Not so much a band to hang out and dance to but rather a good band to see with friends, they’re a nice addition to a line-up filled with dance-inducing, hippie jambands. By the end of their set, Back Yard Tire Fire will most certainly have won over legions of new fans. Take my advice and be one of them. []

The Wham Bam Thank You Jam takes place Saturday, March 25th and Sunday, March 26th at the Hurricane. Tickets can be purchased at the Hurricane or through Ticketmaster. Full weekend passes are $20 and day passes are $15. There is a pre-party Friday night (3/24) for the first 300 fans who show up at the venue as well as those who win tickets on Jamband Junction (KKFI Saturday mornings from 1am-3am).

—Derek Martin

Wham Bam Thank You Jam
Friday, March 24 – Sunday, March 26 at the Hurricane [Map | Tickets]

Friday, March 24
56 Hope Road
Sugar Free Allstars

Saturday, March 25
Shanti Groove
Spoonfed Tribe
56 Hope Road
Helping Phriendly Band
Sugar Free Allstars
The Station
Old Union
The Balance
Resident Funk
Konza Swamp
Kasey Rausch
Bad Abby
Brian Weber
DJ Applesauce

Sunday, March 26
The Schwag
See Peoples
Backyard Tire Fire
Yossarian’s Lament
Brothers Green -

"Moving Forward, The Balance strikes back with new album "On The Sly""

By Jeremy Buckley

New Year’s Eve has typically been a notorious time for bands to come up with a special event of a concert to help ring in the New Year.

Venues like the Madison Square Garden in New York and the Fillmore Auditorium have become hot spots for concertgoers from around the globe to see some of the hottest acts, albeit usually for the cost of about an arm and a leg.

But this New Year’s will bring a source of musical excitement much closer to home for Nebraskans, as Lincoln’s the Balance will be entertaining the masses with an evening of music for about the same price as a ticket to go see a new movie in the theaters ($8).

The band has been busy the past few months working on its debut album, and the show will be the band’s first in six months and also the CD release party for “On the Sly.”

“It’s been stressful,” said Sam Larson, the band’s bassist. “It’s weird to get back in the saddle, but I can’t wait for the day to come. We have songs people haven’t heard and a bunch of good covers to play.”

Since June the band has been hard at work trying to perfect “On the Sly,” a collection of 10 songs that show the band has jumped leaps and bounds from its days as the house band at Bodega’s Alley, a local tavern in Lincoln.

The songs on the album hop across the musical spectrum from the funky “Contortion Extortion” to the spacey “Phases” to the jazzy “Lurk.” A prime example of what the studio can do to a song, a tune previously known as “Admiral Ackbar” that sometimes stretched out to 15 minutes live became a much tighter six-minute offering.

“It was a much needed step,” Larson said. “Its length could dampen a lively set so we shortened it and emphasized its most important points.”

Some of the songs on the album have been concert staples since the early days of the band while others were conceived before entering the studio but were fleshed out during the sessions at Omaha’s Rainbow Studios with sound engineer Jeremy Garrett.

Larson said while the studio process was a new experience for everyone in the band it gave each member a chance to look at the band’s catalogue with a microscopic eye.

“It gave us a chance to really break down the songs,” he said. “We really had to learn how to write the songs more completely and learn each part of the song more intricately. It was tedious and Jake (Van Noy, the band’s guitarist) had his hands on everything which helped us a lot.”

As with any democracy, there were times in the studio when the individual band members wanted to see the songs take different shapes, but Larson said every disagreement ended amicably with everyone giving a little and taking a little.

“There were times when we disagreed,” he said. “On some of the songs there were parts that people wanted in or didn’t want in. So we’d fight about it for awhile but we always were able to figure it out. No one got hit with any instruments.”

A staple part of the Balance’s live show has always been a fusion of music with an intense lighting display courtesy of Darrin Salazar. As time passes Salazar said he’s been able to accumulate a bigger and more impressive stable of lighting displays to help create a dynamic atmosphere that makes the concert more of an experience than just a typical band on stage playing some songs.

Larson said the band has a tentative plan on how to proceed once the New Year’s Eve show is over. The CD will be rolled out online at retailers such as and made available locally at all Homer’s locations. Larson said the band intends to get the CD into the hands of “any and all radio stations that the band thinks will enjoy the music.”

A listening party will take place in Lincoln on Jan. 3 at Bodega’s Alley and then a show is tentatively planned if this year brings another Battlerusa competition, where the winner is offered an invite to the annual Wakarusa Music Festival in Lawrence, Kan.

Beyond that, Larson said the band realizes the whole process will be a learning experience and knowledge and advice will come from many different forums.

“We’ve really got to focus on a game plan,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve ever been entirely sure to know how to proceed.” - The Omaha City Weekly

"The Balance Sing's Farewell to Bodega's Alley"

By: Jeremy Buckley
Issue date: 1/22/07 Section: Life & Style

The weather reports were calling for a couple inches of snow. Everyone knew the venue was too small for the band, but the masses came early and in droves to see a band that a whole community of people supports and loves.

On Saturday night, The Balance, a Lincoln-based band, played perhaps its last show at Bodega's Alley, 1418 O St., a downtown college bar where the band honed its skills with hopes of finding bigger, greener pastures.

For the most part, the band, made up of four University of Nebraska-Lincoln students, has been successful in its quest to move on from humble beginnings.

On New Year's Eve, The Balance released its debut album, "On the Sly," at a CD release party at the Sokol Underground, 13th and Martha streets in Omaha, to a crowd of close to 400.

At most, half of that many people can fit into Bodega's before the fire department raises some eyebrows, and on Saturday night, the bar was packed to the rafters.

The band's lighting tech, Darrin Salazar, said he put about 10 hours into preparing the space for the show. Recently, the owners of Bodega's installed booths for seating, which decreased the amount of available space for people who might want to watch some live music.

But the preparations seemed to help with a lot of the congestion, and the band members looked excited as they hopped on stage ready to play what Salazar called a "Thank you, goodbye, Bodega's" venue show.

And when the first notes of "Phases" began to pulse out of the speaker stacks, it was easy to understand the crowd was in full support of what was transpiring on stage.

After the initial barrage of people coming out of the snow and into the show, things were packed but manageable. Concertgoers didn't have too much trouble with people trying to push closer to a stage when there was no room, and it wasn't incredibly difficult to get a drink.

Nate Green, a third-year dental student and keyboardist for The Balance, said the band members took some time to decide if doing another show at the venue was even feasible.

"We knew it would be tough and wondered if there would be enough room with the new booths," Green said. "But we just took extra time to prepare. I think Darrin started setting up lights on Tuesday, and it ended up working out pretty well."

While the show itself was a typical Balance show - a mixture of fan favorites, cover songs and new originals - the atmosphere spoke a lot about how a band such as The Balance can sink or swim.

First, the band is made up of college students who live in a college town - a location stocked with residents who have some disposable income, need an escape from the rigors of studying and can relate to seeing people on stage and in the crowd that they walk by on campus and see in local restaurants everyday.

Most college bars downtown have something of a built-in clientele, and Bodega's is no exception. When The Balance began playing there, the bar still had one of those older jukeboxes with actual CDs in it. Most of those CDs were bands such as Phish, Widespread Panic and the Grateful Dead.

With modern convenience come changes, and the new touch-screen jukebox features bands like Hinder, Fallout Boy and Chingy, but for the most part people still play "Scarlet Begonias," "Bouncin' Round the Room" and the occasional "Tall Boy."

Those people were the ones who made it out for the show on Saturday. The cover was a mere $3, and all around the venue you could pick out huge groups of friends who were celebrating doing something so positive together.

Early on in the set, one of the band members said the band would play five covers over the course of the night and that the group of songs had a theme.

After pulling out Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" and Dire Straits' "Sultans of Swing," we mused as to whether or not all the songs would start with the letter S. The Supergrass song "Late in the Day" scratched that plan, and it wasn't until after Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" and Radiohead's "Fake Plastic Trees" that it was apparent all the bands were British.

Most of the crowd stayed until closing time, relishing an evening-closing version of "Histology" that some around me said was one of the better ones they'd heard.

Part of what makes music work is building a sense of community within the band itself, but also with the fans. With The Balance perhaps too big to perform on a stage at a venue like Bodega's anymore, it'll be interesting to see if any band can fill the void left by The Balance's absence. - Daily Nebraskan

"Lincoln jam band creates new fan base in Colorado"

January 11, 2006

As the alarm clock screamed static, I wished I hadn’t gone to bed just three hours prior.

But work had to be done, so I rolled off the couch and into the shower, curious where the weekend would take me.

My assignment: to pretend I was Cameron Crowe in the movie “Almost Famous” and follow around a not-yet-famous rock band on a three-day swing through Denver with hopes of finding the ever-elusive larger fan base.

The Balance is a band from Lincoln that could be described as a hippie or jam band. The songs often creep over the 10-minute mark, and fans in the crowd commonly wear tie-dye, listen to the Dead and smoke the funky nug.

The band was already in Colorado when I began my journey and consists of Jake Van Noy, a senior biology major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, on vocals and guitar; Brett Lofing, a senior biology major, on drums; Sam Larson, a senior advertising major, on bass and vocals; and Nate Green, a second-year dental student, on keys and lead vocals.


I began my journey in a car that included the band’s manager, sound guy, a roommate and the keyboardist’s best girl. It was a bit cramped in the Dodge Stratus, but it wasn’t anything a little optimism couldn’t overcome.

See, it’s rare for a local band with members attending college to find opportunities to go out on the road, let alone find decent venues willing to let an unknown – at least outside of Nebraska – band play a show on a weekend evening.

Thursday night brought us all to Quixote’s True Blue, a 300-capacity venue located on the northern outskirts of downtown Denver.

The Balance entourage already numbered almost a dozen, including band members, various helpers and supporters in tow. More were expected throughout the evening from back home, but the question on everyone’s mind was: “Will anyone show up that didn’t travel?”

There was no local opening band to bring in its own fans, and the venue was connected to Cervantes Ballroom, which was set that night to host Tim Reynolds, widely known for his collaborations with Dave Matthews.

Understandably the band was excited but altogether anxious at the same time. They went through the pre-show motions – sound check, perfecting the lighting scheme and a quick trip for dinner at the Welton Street Café, a soul food diner offering a menu with the best macaroni and cheese I’ve ever feasted upon.

As it drew close to show time, the venue remained rather empty. The band sipped on free tap beer, looking a tad defeated. Their faces seemed to say, “Was it really worth it to come all this way just to play to our friends?”

The band made its way to the stage when 10 p.m. rolled around. The crowd numbered maybe 20 people, including at least 10 who’d made the trip from Lincoln.

As the band plodded its way through its first song of the night, “Grass,” it became evident they weren’t in the mood to worry about who might or might not show up. While the crowd might’ve been sparse, it was anything but lethargic.

The door guy for the club wasn’t faking his enthusiasm, waiting for the next attendee while bobbing his head. As the first notes of The Grateful Dead’s “Shakedown Street” emanated from the speakers, I heard him exclaim, “Oh hell yes,” and his dancing became frantic.

After a 90-minute set, the band announced they were taking a 10-minute break and left the stage. Trips were made to the bar to fill empty beers, and Larson ventured my way.

I asked how he was doing and he replied with, “You know what, man, I don’t care if anyone shows up. I’m happy our friends are here to see us play, and if we’re going to play just for them, then so be it.”

An act of defiance I’m sure he’ll look back on with a chuckle.

The band’s manager, Trevor Fiala, had other ideas. He realized the Reynolds show next door was ending and went over to ask the bartenders to inform audience members they could get into The Balance show for free with their bracelets from that show, even if to check out just a song or two.

Within five or 10 minutes, the crowd in Quixote’s had swelled from a couple dozen to almost 100.

The second set was quite a bit more upbeat; the band was hoping it could recruit some new fans from the ending show next door. As the crowd hardly thinned during the second set, they seemed to have succeeded.

After the almost four-hour show, the looks on the band member’s tired but happy faces illustrated victory.


The Balance was opening for the Vince Herman Trio. Herman is best known as the lead singer for Leftover Salmon.

Because of the opening slot, the band would start earlier and not play as long.

The crowd was larger in size as the night began, maybe 50 people. Although there was the normal opening band crowd chatter, there were still new faces enjoying the music, including Herman, who asked the band if they had any discs he could take with h - Daily Nebraskan

"Sam Larson maintaining sound equilibrium with The Balance"

by Jeremy Buckley

The Balance is a Lincoln-based, improvisation inspired band, or, "not a jam band," as its members would attest. After forming out of high school friendships among three gentlemen from Scottsbluff, the band added another Nebraska native from Lyons, Sam Larson, to complete The Balance as it teeters today.

The band members have taken a break from performing live to work on their debut album, and Larson was nice enough to set aside some time to talk about some serious issues.

DN: What would you say are some difficult things to balance?

SL: It's tough to balance school, work, the band and relationships. You don't get much sleep. But it's tough to balance things like bowling balls, too.

DN: Bands have shows that hit the mark, but they usually have a few misses too. What has been your biggest miss?

SL: We played a high school graduation party out in Western Nebraska and our sound guy drank a little too much. We're thinking, 'Oh no." But then we took a step back and realized, "We're playing at a high school graduation party in the middle of nowhere to a bunch of old people."

DN: Your band covered the song "La Bamba" this summer. Did you know all of the words?

SL: Our keyboardist, Nate Green did vocals on that song and he knew all of the lyrics because they were ingrained in his brain from when he performed it at a talent show in grade school.

DN: What do you define as "the balance?"

SL: For us it's a combination of the guys in the band and our friends who help us out behind the scene. We have our own sound guy, a guy doing lights and a manager that makes sure as many people as possible know about the band. To me, those guys are in the band, too.

DN: Your next show isn't until New Years Eve at the Sokol Underground in Omaha. What can we expect?

SL: For one, we have a killer opening band performing before us. And who knows, the way this album is coming along it might double as a CD release party as well. - Daily Nebraskan


On The Sly, debut album released January 16th, 2007.

All live shows for the past 2 years have been recorded, many are available on the Live Music Archive for full free downloading and burning, search "The Balance." Some of the shows listed on the Live Music Archive are also streamable for live immediate play.

In addition to the archive we have our myspace page,, we have 4 songs streamable, these songs are rotated on a normal basis.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Four years ago, four friends from Lincoln, Nebraska came together to form the Balance. Nate Green, Jacob Van Noy, Sam Larson and Brett Lofing played their first show together on June 30, 2003…but this event was far from the beginning of their story.

The songwriting tandem of Green & Van Noy was forged over ten years ago, while both were in their early teenage years, growing up in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. They learned and taught each other to play guitar, mostly favoring the acoustic catalogs of British bands like the Beatles and Oasis. After graduating from high school two years ahead of Jacob, the musical partnership took a hiatus when Nate headed off to college in Lincoln in the fall of 1999. During that time, Jake’s cousin got him to join an electric band that included Lofing (yet another high school classmate) on drums. Through this, Jake and “Lof” formed a lasting union of their own, as they continued to find themselves as being the common element of several different bands as the years went by.

By the fall of 2001, all three friends were going to school and living in Lincoln. In the months that followed, Jake reconvened playing acoustic rehearsals with Nate in their spare time, as well as jamming with Lof in a basement apartment every now and then. After a little convincing, Nate was persuaded to join Jake and Lof for some jam sessions in early 2003. The group would play sets at house parties and fraternity parties around town (with percussionist Justin Stiers) and it was at one of these performances that Larson first heard the group playing together. Sam being a friend of Nate’s, the Scottsbluff trio discussed the prospects of his joining them. After inviting him to sit in on bass during a practice session not long after this encounter, the lineup was established by the summer of 2003. The band adopted their name when a July trip to Kansas for a Phish show determined that such was a simple representation of nothing more than “balance” being a critical essential, which one should strive to attain in all aspects of life.

The Balance soon began playing bar gigs in the Lincoln area. They became a fixture at a particular downtown haunt, Bodega’s Alley, frequently playing sets of original songs (usually revisited and reworked ideas and riffs that Jake had written over the years, which Nate would add lyrics to) and covers that only reflected the group’s diverse backdrop of influences. The musicians that the band cites as influential to their own appreciation of music range from those made famous for a nuanced, multi-layered, improvisational style of performance, similar to that of their own—the Grateful Dead, Sound Tribe Sector 9 and the Steve Kimock Band have all been likened to the Balance—to acknowledgements of jazz and blues legends like John Scofield and Stevie Ray Vaughan…all in the same breath as bands with styles and sounds as varied as Radiohead, Tool, God Lives Underwater and Pearl Jam. The Balance is the consequence of their diverse musical background, with a sound unique to itself. Attempting to define such is to try and depict that which is in a constant state of evolution.

In early 2004, the band recorded a series of demo tracks that was widely circulated among their growing fan base. Their increasing popularity brought them bigger gigs…performing opening sets for acts that the members of the Balance had been among the audience of at shows just shortly prior. On August 19, 2005, they warmed up an Omaha crowd for one such band, the Big Wu, which only helped to broaden their regional audience. The band was invigorated by the new opportunities. It showed up in their performances during this period, as they played 75 shows in six states across the Midwest. This only further energized their now frenzied and dedicated fans. Folks from many different walks of life regularly began showing up to observe and enjoy the development of the dynamic emanating from the musical explorations of the humble, unassuming foursome.

It is that very modest nature that keeps “balance” in the Balance. Their origins trace back to a desire to create music that they could enjoy and appreciate for its having been made…the fact that such a broad cross-section of welcoming others also found themselves delighted by the creation was just icing on the cake. A decade has passed since Nate and Jake came together as individuals who believed in trying to find a way to look at the world from the perspective of others. Finding music as their outlet of expression, they were able to direct this empathetic exploration into a format that also allowed them to display exactly how simple and beautiful life can be for us all, if we just stop for long enough to pay attention.

The Balance’s first full-length release, On The Sly, marks the dawn of the band’s fourth year together. At such time, they find themselves at something of a crossroads. The group could very well find this album’s release to be